Class of 2019 Story: A New Life, Unplanned

Name: Danielle Mzyk

Hometown: Chapel Hill

Focus: Food animal

Post-graduation plans: Associate veterinarian at the Animal Hospital of Waterford, in Waterford, Pa.

When I walked onto NC State’s campus 10 years ago I had no idea the road my journey to DVM would take me.

I originally wanted to pursue a career in small animal and wildlife medicine, but after working with College of Veterinary Medicine researchers and clinicians at the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank for nine years, my path diverged to the road less traveled with a food animal focus.

While enrolled as a student in the dual DVM/Ph.D. program, I focused my research in large animal pharmacology and I had many opportunities to incorporate my own clinical pharmacology research into clinical cases in the large animal hospital.

My most educational experience was as a leader in the bovine club. In addition to cultivating a passion for ruminant medicine, it provided opportunities for me to help teach other students physiology, case management, real-life applications of surgical and medical procedures, as well as improve my communication with members of the public about animal agriculture.

Some of my favorite days in vet school included meeting people from different walks of life at the milking booth during Open House and teaching them about the health and care of our large animals. Our ruminant health clinicians are truly once-in-a-lifetime mentors and professors with unmatched passion for teaching.

My time at the CVM includes stories of calves saved during difficult births and late nights of emergency colic surgeries, as well as many heartwarming goodbyes between pets and their owners. I have been a first had witness to the magic and passion veterinarians and students have for solving puzzles, teaching the next generation of veterinarians and working with both people and animals.

This is an incredible profession full of amazing people. I have this rare privilege of being able to pursue in my adult life what has been my childhood dream. It’s a blessing I will never forget.

My advice for current and future students is to remember that whenever you’re pushing through the tough moments find the little moments that make it all worth it. If something is important to you, it is worth fighting for.

These four (or in my case, seven) years are short, so enjoy the time you have here.  When you leave, go into the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good.

Graduating from NC State is an honor. Graduating three times from NC State is a blessing. Even though my path to a DVM degree was unconventional, taking the road less traveled has made all the difference.